Friday, November 27, 2015

Gage's 3rd Birthday

My nephew Gage is 3! My sister's theme for him this year was a pizza party, where each child was able to make their own personal pan pizza. Gage's big present this year was a crickett 22 rifle from his daddy.

Thanksgiving 2015

This year we started a thankful pumpkin, and we're all adding what we are thankful for on our pumpkin!

This year year we also decided to raise our own turkeys. We had three, which we named Christmas, Thanksving, and Justin Case. Justin Case died one day while were were away from home. We're not sure what happened, but it looked as if he got his foot caught in the fence of the coop, and struggled to death trying to set himself free.

We butchered the turkeys ourselves the weekend before Thanksgiving with the help of Uncle Mike. The turkeys weighed only 10 lbs each before the slaughter. For Thanksgiving we sliced the breast meat, battered and fried them into turkey fingers, and they were delicious! 

We celebrated Thanksgiving at my parents house with my sister and her family, Grandma, who came in from SC, Granny Ann and Bobby, Uncle Mike and Debra, and Jody.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Photo Shoot

Wanting some keepsake photos of the kids, and loving the beauty of my dad's cotton field, I loaded the kids up in the car and we headed over to my dad's farm. My only chance for this photo shoot was this morning, because cotton picking day is tomorrow. I only had my iphone for a camera, but I still think that I was able to capture some lovely pictures of the kids. They truly are precious and beautiful!

Skylar age 11

Maddox age 9

Mason age 3

Josiah age 2

Below is a side by side photo from when Mitch was 5 and Maddox today who is 9. These 2 truly are twins!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Halloween 2015

Our church put on a Halloween fall festival inside the church's gym the weekend before Halloween. My sister was away on a cruise to Mexico with her husband for their 5 year wedding anniversary, so I was able to keep her kids that weekend. We dressed the 6 kids up in their costumes and the kids had a great time.

Dorothy (Skylar), Baby lion (Ashlynne), Woody (Mason), Marine (Gage), Buzz Lightyear (Jojo), Ghost Buster (Maddox).

Stage fright!
The morning before Halloween my mom was able to pick up my sister's kids, she would keep them until my sister returned from her trip. That night our SC friends came in to visit! They would spend Halloween with us! These friends were Skylar and Maddox's best friends from SC. Our friends are also foster parents, and they were able to bring their foster daughter along with them! I'm not however allowed to share her picture at this time.

Karen and Chris

Liam, Maddox, Gabe, Jojo, Mason, Gloria, Cadence, and Skylar

I had so much fun with our friends, and I was so glad that they were able to visit! Unfortunately I feel like the visit was cursed with back luck! The week before our friends arrived, our home was infested with fleas! We sprayed and bombed, but that wasn't enough. We even kicked the dogs out, making them outside dogs. We had hoped to get rid of the fleas before our friends arrived, but we weren't so lucky! I was humiliated that the kids complained of flea bites! Our friends were good sports about it all, and hopefully understanding, but that doesn't take away my embarrassment. To add insult to injury, I had decided to clean our coffee maker with vinegar before our friends arrived, and the vinegar was still inside the keurig. Our coffee was sour and ruined that weekend! I was humbled as a host this weekend.

**Update** January 11, 2016

After two months of bombing we have finally rid our house of fleas!! This was such a frustrating experience.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Maddox's Burn

    Even before we moved down to GA to be closer to my parents, Maddox has always enjoyed hanging out with his Papa on the farm. We would even arrange for extended vacations in the summer for the kids to hang out with their grandparents and explore the farm. For Maddox, moving down here just meant access to the farm whenever he wanted! On Saturday October 25th, 2014, Maddox was busy with his papa on the farm, just like he had been on most weekends. His papa had picked him up early in the morning, and I didn't hear or see them again until later that night. Typical farm day, working (playing) from sun up to sun down, Maddox loved it, still does! This particular weekend my dad and his brother were clearing land to put in a pond. To clear the land, they must push the trees over with a bulldozer, and then push the limbs into piles to burn. Maddox and Papa were cautious with each fire, and my dad was careful to keep an eye on Maddox, and as usual train him on farm safety with each farm equipment and situation. 

Accidents can and will happen. While my dad was on the tractor Maddox made a misstep, and stepped onto a bed of hot ashes. His boot filled with hot coals burning his skin. He thought the ground he was stepping on was solid gray dirt, and when his foot sank in he lost his balance, fell and burnt his arm. Maddox ran to my dad's Polaris to grab a bottle of water to pour into his boot. At the same time, my dad could see Maddox screaming, and he jumped off his tractor and ran to him. He tried to get Maddox's boot off, but his shoe laces were melted together, fortunately my dad was able to pull the boot off anyway.

I was working on dinner when my dad walked in the door in front of Maddox. Mitch was on his way home from work. As my dad walked in he let me know that there had been an accident, and though Maddox was ok, he was hurt pretty bad. We sat him on the counter for me to get a better look. The burn looked painful, and I could tell that he needed a doctor, but at this point I honestly didn't know how bad it was. Thinking that all he needed was some pain meds, burn cream, and some antibiotics, I took my dad's offer of having him take Maddox to the hospital while I stayed behind to finish dinner, and stay home with my other 3 children. I sent photos to Mitch and instead of heading home, he detoured to the hospital to meet Papa and Maddox.

Late into the night when they finally returned home armed with pain meds, Mitch updated me letting me know that the doctors had made him an appointment at our nearest burn center, an hour away in Valdosta. My dad seemed so heart broken over the situation, and covered Maddox in prayer. 

The accident happened on a Saturday, and the burn center is only open on Wednesdays. My poor child could not bring himself to move out of the bed for the pain was so severe . He cried on Tuesday when he tried to get up to go to school. He wanted to see his friends, but I made him stay in bed.

On Wednesday my dad offered to go with us to Valdosta. I was really only expecting to have an expert look his foot over, give him a special cream, and that the burn would soon scab over, fall off and heal on its own, but that was not the case. As a doctor came in to look at his left foot they explained to me that his burn was a 3rd degree burn and that they needed to wheel him off to surgery right then and there. He also had 2nd degree burns on his right arm and right foot, but they would heal fine with some burn cream. I was shocked! We all were. My dad was crushed. I felt as if I barely had enough time to explain to Maddox why he needed surgery before they took him away. Mitch took off work when he heard the news, and came straight to the burn center, so did my mom. While Maddox was in surgery his family was covering him in prayer from the waiting room.

This surgery would remove his damaged skin. We were told to come back in 2 weeks for another surgery where they would perform a skin graft. 

During his second surgery however, doctors decided that Maddox's burn was still too deep, so instead of a skin graft, they patched him up with cadaver skin. They told us to come back again the following week and would try again with a skin graft from his thigh. Recovery was rough for my poor boy, but he was so brave and so tough. 

I was hoping for a quick recovery. The doctors told me that his recovery would take a year, and we spent a year driving back and forth to the burn center in Valdosta.

Unfortunately this accident happened just days before Halloween. Maddox tried getting around on crutches, but physically couldn't put his foot down without crying in pain. A friend let us borrow a wheel chair, he would need it for a few weeks before he could move to crutches..

Walking for the first time after his accident.
He couldn't wear a shoe with a heel for months after his surgery, for doctors feared that the heel would disrupt his graft. His scar was slow to heal. The doctors worried about the thickness of his scar and prescribed a custom made sock that he would wear for 6 months.

You can see his custom sock in this photo above

A year later, his scar has softened, and though he will always have a mark, his leg has healed nicely. I am thankful that his injury wasn't worse. I'm thankful that the rest of his body was spared and thankful that he didn't land on his face in the hot ashes. The 3rd degree burn was so bad that not only was his skin burned, but his muscle was burned as well. I am grateful that he did not lose movement in his ankle, which was a concern a year ago. The doctors have offered an optional laser surgery that he could have now, or in the future to soften his scar further if we felt that he needed it. This would not lighten his scar, but soften it to prevent tightness. We are considering this option. 
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